Halitosis is an oral health problem where the main symptom is bad smelling breath.
In most cases, finding the cause of the bad breath is the first step toward treating
this preventable condition.
There are many causes of bad breath, just as there are many sources of bacteria in
the mouth. Halitosis may be caused by the following:
Certain foods. The things you eat are linked to your oral health, including your breath. Items such
as garlic and onions, or any food for that matter, are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Until that food becomes eliminated by the body, it has the potential to affect your
Poor oral health care. Without proper and consistent brushing and flossing, and routine dental exams , food
remains in the mouth, which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Food that collects
on the teeth, gums, and tongue may rot, which causes an unpleasant odor and taste
in the mouth.
Improper cleaning of dentures. Dentures that are not cleaned properly may be collecting bacteria, fungi, and remaining
food particles, which cause bad breath.
Odor-causing bacteria on the tongue. Certain bacteria on the back of the tongue can interact with amino acids in foods
and produce smelly sulfur compounds.
Periodontal disease. One of the primary symptoms of this gum disease is foul, bad smelling breath, and
an unpleasant taste in the mouth. This condition requires immediate care by an oral
Xerostomia (dry mouth). This condition is often a key part of halitosis. When there is a significant decrease
in saliva production, the mouth is unable to cleanse itself and remove debris and
particles left behind by food. Xerostomia may be caused by certain medicines, a salivary
gland disorder, or by continuously breathing through the mouth instead of the nose.
Tobacco products. Not only do tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and snuff
stain the teeth and put the body at risk for a host of diseases, they also contribute
to bad breath. Tobacco users also are at an increased risk for the following:
A medical condition. Bad breath may be a sign or symptom of any of the following conditions. See your healthcare
provider for a diagnosis: